By: Alex Cameron-Washington Bureau - September 15, 2023 6:21 am


The number of migrants entering the country unlawfully along the southern border has spiked again, adding new fuel to the GOP’s unrelenting criticism of the Biden administration’s border policies.

The administration was able to breathe a sigh of relief when illegal border crossings dropped — contrary to the expectations of Biden’s critics — immediately following the court-ordered end of the use of Title 42 back in May. But it turns out the reprieve was short-lived.

“We had the highest number of family crossings in the history of the country in August,” said Sen. James Lankford in opening remarks at a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing last week, “So, the numbers have shot back up, and they’ve shot back up dramatically.”

At the hearing, Sen. Lankford had the chance to ask Customs and Border Patrol officials about administration policies that he feels put national security at risk because he says they’re not aimed at deterring asylum-seekers from illegally entering the country, just processing them as quickly as possible.

“They admitted they’re moving people into the country with a short-term authorization that runs out well before they ever get to the courts now,” Lankford explained in an interview the following day. “It’s now between 4 and 10 years before someone gets to a court to even plead their case on asylum. Their parole time runs out in either a year or two years, so they’ve got this whole time that they literally have no documentation, but the Biden team is just moving them across the border.”

“It’s a humanitarian crisis,” said Congressman Josh Brecheen (R-OK2) in an interview Wednesday.

Congressman Brecheen had just participated in a House Homeland Security Committee oversight hearing on the scourge of human trafficking and the sex trafficking of minors across the border.

Brecheen and others point to a New York Times report from earlier this year, which said the Department of Health and Human Services had lost contact with 85,000 minors who were homed with sponsors in the U.S. One witness today, a lawyer with the ACLU, said those children were likely not ‘lost’ as Republicans claim, but their sponsors simply did not respond to the calls from HHS.

Brecheen says there is evidence that many of these children are being trafficked, and the administration is to blame because it is failing to enforce the law.

“There are federal laws that are on the books that this administration is thumbing their nose at,” Brecheen said, “It’s a violation of the oath of office for [Homeland Security Secretary] Mayorkas.”

Democrats accuse Republicans of using the border issue for political purposes only and having no real interest in trying to come up with any bipartisan solutions.

Senator Lankford says he’s trying and says it begins with agreeing on what constitutes ‘asylum.’

“As strange that sounds, of all the different immigration proposals that have been out there for years,” Lankford said, “none of them have dealt with that core issue of: how do you define asylum?”

Lankford says it’s a hard, technical issue, but he’s working across the aisle on bipartisan legislation to hopefully get it done.


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